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A skeptical look at The Skeptical Environmentalist

In This Series

  • Links related to The Skeptical Environmentalist

    For those of you who still haven't gotten enough of the Lomborg controversy, look no further than your browser. We've compiled a collection of links to sites that praise the man, haze the man, and walk the middle ground.

  • On Bjorn Lomborg's hidden agenda

    Here is Denmark, that harmonious northern country known for its curiously vanilla accomplishments (comprehensive social welfare, pastry, Hans Christian Anderson), and here is its latest export, Bjorn Lomborg, come to announce the good news that we live in a fairy-tale world.

  • On Bjorn Lomborg and energy

    When it comes to the world's energy problems, Bjorn Lomborg's unbridled optimism is quite enough to ruin anyone's day.

  • On Bjorn Lomborg and environmental hazards to human health

    You know what they say about people who become statisticians? They lacked the personality to become accountants.

  • On Bjorn Lomborg's use of statistics

    Extraordinary claims demand an extraordinary level of documentation and supporting analysis, and warrant the healthy skepticism of those who would review or pronounce judgment on them. Bjorn Lomborg's new book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, is missing the documentation and analysis, and the outpouring of media coverage the book has generated is missing the skepticism.

  • On Bjorn Lomborg and deforestation

    In The Skeptical Environmentalist, Bjorn Lomborg writes that "basically, the world's forests are not under threat." A charitable reader could attribute this flawed conclusion to errors of omission and ignorance; perhaps the author simply doesn't know the sources well enough to interpret them properly. Less charitably, one might reasonably conclude that Lomborg intentionally selects his data and citations to distort or even reverse the truth. His interpretations of data on global forest cover and Indonesian forest fires aptly illustrate both failings.

  • On Bjorn Lomborg and population

    Some years ago, well before many outside Denmark knew Bjorn Lomborg's name, a group of his fellow faculty members at the University of Aarhus took the unusual step of developing a website specifically to warn the scientific community and others about flaws in his work. Appalled by Lomborg's scientific pretensions and unfounded conclusions, these faculty members, including a former head of the Danish Academy of Sciences, actively disassociated themselves from him.

  • On Bjorn Lomborg and species diversity

    Bjorn Lomborg opens his chapter on biodiversity by citing my 1979 estimate of 40,000 species lost per year. He gets a lot of mileage out of that estimate throughout the chapter, although he does not cite any of my subsequent writings except for a single mention of a 1983 paper and a 1999 paper, neither of which deals much with extinction rates. Why doesn't he refer to the 80-plus papers I have published on biodiversity and mass extinction during the 20-year interim?

  • On Bjorn Lomborg and climate change

    Bjorn Lomborg's chapter on global climate change is a clever polemic; it seems like a sober and well-researched presentation of balanced information, whereas in fact it makes use of selective inattention to inconvenient literature and overemphasis of work that supports his lopsided views. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports and other honest assessments don't have the luxury of using such tactics, given the hundreds of external reviewers and dozens of review editors.